Construction on the five-story office building at Ovation began last October, and Corporex plans to deliver the finishing touches at the end of 2022, said Tom Banta, chief real estate officer of Corporex during a recent tour of the construction site.
“We just signed a lease with MegaCorp Logistics for the top two floors in the building,” Banta said.
The addition of MegaCorp Logistics, a trucking logistics company, on May 11 to the Newport development lands a key anchor tenant for the 100,000 square foot office building.
Last week, LINK nky was given the opportunity to tour the construction site.
“The construction is coming along great,” Suzanne Deatherage, marketing director at Corporex said. “We’ve made amazing progress.”
The progress is evidenced by the towering Maxim cranes dominating the Newport skyline. Skid steer loaders scurry up and down W. 3rd Street removing dust, mud and debris from the road as cars pass by the completed PromoWest Pavilion concert venue.
The Ovation project is spearheaded by Corporex, a Covington-based development firm. The project features construction subcontractors such as Baker Concrete and Ohio Valley Electric.
“We always knew that Ovation would be a project that would bring a lot of opportunity to the area,” Banta said.
When driving through the roundabout in West Newport, people witness the titanic foundation for the Homewood Suites by Hilton Newport Cincinnati, a 132-room hotel that’s being built on top of a large parking garage. Upon completion, the parking garage will be one of the largest in Newport.
The beginnings of an orange pedestrian bridge can be seen from the streets, signaling the future interconnectivity between the Homewood Suites hotel and five-story office building.
Construction crews are hard at work welding, moving building materials and excavating.
Banta said the project will have an immense effect on the economy of Newport.
“Just in tax base, when we had built RiverCenter (in Covington) 12 years ago, and built all those buildings, we almost doubled the real estate tax base in the city of Covington,” Banta said. “So it gives you an idea on what a project like this can do.”
With MegaCorp relocating its regional headquarters to the Ovation office building, Corporex is expecting the move will bring 250 to 300 jobs to Newport. MegaCorp is scheduled to move into the office building during the first quarter of 2023. Banta expects approximately three to seven more tenants to fill out the office space in the building depending on the market. The office building construction is scheduled to be completed by October 2022.
Banta said an important positive Ovation will bring to Newport is providing the city with more walkable working spaces, coupled with a diverse array of amenities. This will help attract more businesses and employees back into the urban core of the city.
“Employees want walkable environments,” Banta said. “They want restaurants, they want coffee shops, they want fitness areas. They want amenity-rich, walkable communities.”
Construction is on schedule and the morale of crew members is high, said Alan Bogart, vice president of construction at Corporex.
Bogart cited one of the biggest challenges the management team has faced is from strained supply chains around the world. However, the team took proactive measures such as ordering key bulk materials such as steel as early as April 2021.
“There’s so much steel that gets cast into the concrete and it’s so hard to get right now. China, shipping constraints, and the war (in Ukraine) have all affected it. But we’re on schedule,” Bogart said. “We’ve tried as much as we can to be forward-thinking and tried to order things early. We have a lot of extra materials onsite. There’s a lot of extra rebar sitting on site so we’re trying to get out ahead of it. Deliveries don’t come as quickly as they normally would have.”
The construction crew is working from the Ohio riverfront back towards the street. Banta and Bogart both said a challenge of building along the riverfront has been dealing with poor soil. The soil along the riverfront is high silt content, which provides poor load bearing.
Corporex has counteracted this by digging deep. The concrete columns people see on the construction site for the parking garage foundation are drilled 80 to 85-feet deep in the ground into the bedrock.
Building along the riverfront also means dealing with more water on the construction site when the Ohio River levels rise.
“The other challenge is when the river’s high,” Bogart said. “As soon as we cut into the dirt, the water level within the soil is high. We could make an excavation and then it fills up with water. We’re pumping a lot of water out of the site.”
Deatherage emphasized the developers are focused on creating a tranquil environment for people who will live within the residences at Ovation, so residents will be able to relax in the comfort of their homes without being bothered by the louder lifestyle elements of the development.
“We’ve always heard from people when they’re looking at our residences that they want to have that peace and quiet within the realm of their home, knowing there’s a hustle and bustle to the lifestyle element here,” Deatherage said. “Corporex is able to take their experience from building hotels, and then working with acoustical engineers, in terms of how things are built, to ensure they get that peaceful environment.”
Banta said consultants have inspected the design throughout the construction process to ensure that everything is being done correctly.
The PromoWest Pavilion concert venue has been open for some time, and has hosted live musical performances in the midst of the grand construction project, giving Northern Kentuckians a tangible idea of the viability and scale of the development. Famous bands like the Smashing Pumpkins are scheduled to come later in May.